A Wisconsin Political Fix
not just another blog
October 4, 2009
By Bill Kraus
Bill Safire died last week. He is remembered for many things by many people. My favorite and fondest recollection is based on a column he wrote on Election Day in the fall of 1978.
He wrote, “The wrong-headed rejection of political labels--the glorification of non-participation--is at the root of the rise of single issue voting which bids fair to make this year’s election more of a battle between local extremist groups than a referendum on the nation’s case of hardening of the arteries.”
This remarkable foresight was based on the fact that he saw the collateral damage that the congressional response to the Watergate excesses and the Supreme Court’s dictum which said in effect, “Money is speech and has the same freedoms and protections under the 1st amendment to the Constitution” would do to the election process in this country.
What it would do, of course, is bureaucratize us.
The surest sign of bureaucratization is that we become more concerned with the process than with the problem. We become prisoners of the status quo.
Nowhere is this phenomenon more evident than in the raging debate in Washington and in the country at large about health care.
The problem is that health care in this country costs twice as much as it does in the countries our businesses must compete with in what has become a global marketplace without, incidentally, producing better health, longevity, or anything else on the indices we use to evaluate the outcomes.
Is anybody talking about that?
It doesn’t seem so.
Instead we are rallying around the system, the process. Saving the insurance companies, the doctors, the hospitals, the drug companies who would seem to be the fiscal beneficiaries of the problem no one is talking about.
The hardening of the nation’s arteries that Safire predicted 31 years ago is now in full flower.
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